Kula Flow with Oceana Baity at Kula Yoga

Oceana Baity
Oceana Baity

Last week I went to Oceana’s class at Kula Yoga. She’d been recommended by a friend a long time ago, but my recent enjoyment of Kula-trained teachers finally got me all the way over to Tribeca.

It was great. Absolutely great. Oceana has a soothing demeanor, a wealth of knowledge, and a perfect sense of timing. We were slowly warmed up, gently kept moving, and never left hanging. She dished out novel instructions, and awesome adjustments, in an even stream. It was a very athletic, medium-fast class, but she managed to weave constantly through the packed room, rotating Bound Side Angled ribs a little further or pushing Pigeoned hips a bit deeper, without disrupting her narrative. We strode through warm-ups, hit my favorite pose of the moment (Revolved Bound Half Moon), spent some time in deep back bending, and still fit in pranayama. Ninety minutes felt like half that.

I’m kind of tickled by the studio, too. It’s somewhat dysfunctional, with creaky old floors, tiny changing rooms, and exiled bathrooms (in the back of one classroom, or on a separate floor), but it has a magical homey feeling. The ceiling is painted with a huge mandala, dotted with Indian-style brass and stained glass lamps, while the floor is neatly divided into a grid of dots for mat alignment. (Don’t expect more than six inches margin for your personal space.) There’s a small classroom behind the front desk, leaking instructors’ voices through the air vents, and a larger studio facing out towards some old lofts on Warren Street. You can refill your water bottle from their cooler for fifty cents.

If you go, mark the address and hope there will be someone right ahead of you the entrance is unmarked and hidden (like any good Manhattan hotspot). Between two touristy street vendors there is an empty doorway. Five steps in, there’s a door on the right, open to a straight shot of stairs up up up. That’s it.